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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

NACATC Windermere Report

by Cadet Flight Sergeant Lisa Whitaker

On the 12th April, I set off for National Air Cadet Adventure Training Centre, Windermere, on a coach along with 27 other cadets. We all quickly got to know each other, which made the rest of the weeks activities a lot easier. The first night concluded us splitting into 3 flights, and each flight being allocated days to help with catering and the first few of our many lessons on topics such as D of E expeditions and route planning.
The first day began with the a basic swimming test and some free time to spend in the pool. Passing the test meant we could go canoeing later on in the week. After that it was straight to Vertical Air, an outdoor high ropes course designed to test our team work and communication skills, as well as give a few of us quite a fright being so high up in the air. The night ended with more lessons, on weather and how to find the right walking boots for you.
We all awoke bright and early for our practise bronze DofE walk on Monday morning. We split into our flights and were given a different route to follow, all heading to the summit of The Old Man of Coniston. The sun was shining as we set out, but it got very chilly at some if the peaks we had to walk to, but eventually, after many gruelling hours of walking up and over numerous hills, we reached the summit, and the view was amazing! You could see all the way to Morecambe Bay.
Tuesday was a very hectic day, comprising of 3 separate activities happening all at once. So each flight departed heading for different destinations, and over the course of the day, we went canoeing (a lot of people fell in) outdoor rock climbing (the best of the three) and camp craft, which helped us gain some useful knowledge for our expedition the next day.
Wednesday and Thursday were our expedition days, starting from Limfit Park, and finishing in Ambleside after stopping the night at a campsite. The weather held out for us during the day but got very windy and wet whilst we all endured a sleepless night. But reaching the finish point at the end was definitely worth it, and for a lot of people it meant their completion of the Bronze D of E. 
Friday seemed to be a blur, with some people going off to do mountain biking in a nearby trail, and the rest of us orienteering and cleaning the centre for our departure the next day. The night ended with our DofE Aims presentations, some more serious than others. 
Saturday was another hectic day, with everyone needing to be packed, final elements of cleaning to be done and the coach to be packed up. The coach journey gave us all time to catch up on a bit of lost sleep! But also to share memories of the amazing week we had just had. 
I would definitely recommended the course to anyone interested in adventure training, as it is a perfect insight into all kinds of outdoor activities.

RAF Akrotiri Camp 2014

by Cadet Flight Sergeant Jamie Partovi

I didn't expect my bid for the RAF Akrotiri camp in early 2014 to succeed, as these camps are a privilege. On top of this the camp was subsidised by Wing and so really was excellent value for money. For these reasons I was ecstatic to be informed I was to attend the ten day camp in the Mediterranean.  

We arrived late and so most of the formalities had to be postponed, apart from being assigned a flight and it turned out I was the designated Flight Commander for ‘Athena Flight’. 

The first day we did a familiarisation exercise to get to know the base we would be staying in. This was shortly followed be swimming tests to ensure we were able to take part in all the water activities planned. To get to know our peers we all went down to the beach and took part in various ice breakers.
FS Partovi in the cockpit of a Griffin Helicopter

The next day was a great one - Waterpark! 

One of the more interesting parts of the camp was a First Aid simulation. A surprise scenario was sprung on the cadets mimicking a car accident using real trauma dummies, this was an excellent team building exercise. followed closely by a tour of the Bomb Disposal unit.

The second day took us to the water park where we spent the day.

At a local Army Barracks we spent the morning practising on their Dismounted Close Combat Trainer (DCCT) - Electronic range, as well as using their climbing wall. that evening we played sports on the beach followed closely by a delicious buffet.
FS Partovi taking on the WWO for C&E Yorks Wing at Table Football
To follow was a visit to the Dog section and the Fire Section, both very interesting. that afternoon we were allowed the opportunity to go clay pigeon shooting which was great fun, as well as a short walk down the mountain near a place called Troodos. while one half of the group were shooting the other half were taken to explore some local ancient ruins, sadly we didn't have enough time to see them all; they were massive!

We returned to the beach to go Banana Boating followed by a Barbeque.

The next day we visited the Red Arrows, and then had a boat party.
FS Partovi with one of the Red Arrows' Hawk aircraft
All in all this was an experience of a lifetime and I would recommend it to anyone considering applying for a place.